Earlier this evening as I rode the Wayfarer home from coffee, I marveled at how quiet everything is. A Saturday night at 6pm is no weeknight rush hour, true, but normally there wouldn’t be such a drastic drop of people driving down Division St, nor would the nightlife hub of SE 26th and Clinton have such a palpable lack of “buzz”. It can only spell one thing: everyone’s staying at home since snow has been predicted to fall sometime tonight.
How much and when? Hard to say. There have been many times where snow had been predicted, yet nothing happened or nothing much happened. And there was the one time when no snow at all was forecast and we got several inches. So all this talk of snow over the next few days can mean nothing. Or everything.
|The surprise snow of Dec. 2009, as observed from the Kitten Shack, NE Portland.|
Since I no longer have a job to go to, a snowy day or two shouldn’t be that big of a deal to me. But this time the snow coincides with Sunday’s Palm Tree Ride. And I’m still determined to ride. How prepared should I be?
I have a studded 700C tire that can go on the front of the Long Haul Trucker. If the snow is bad enough and there is ice, this is the best solution for winter biking. But if there isn’t either, then it’ll be sucky to ride with. And it’s a pain to mount that studded tire. I have a spare front wheel that it’s mounted to and I could theoretically just put it on that way, but now since I have dynamo hub lighting on the LHT, it would mean no lights. Plus the rim is narrower than the one that is currently on the bike, so I’d have to adjust the cantilever brakes as well.
|I got studs for the feet as well!|
So I’m going to wait and see. If it’s really that bad Sunday morning, I doubt anyone’s going to show up, so throwing a studded tire is a moot point. (Riding in all ice and no snow isn’t fun.) But if there’s just some snow with no ice, I feel that the Long Haul Trucker in its current configuration will be fine. I rode the bike through snow last year when we went to Stub Stewart for New Year’s so I know it can handle sans studs. And the tires I have on are fairly wide, 35mm (wider than the 32mm that I had last winter), so that’s another thing in my favor. I could also use the Raleigh Wayfarer, which has tires of a similar width and a hub gear instead of derailleurs which could get gunked up with snow. But the canti brakes on the LHT offer superior stopping power in wet weather so it will probably be the bike I’ll ride.
|The Raleigh encounters the snow, Feb 2011.|
Check back and see how all this winter weather biz-ness turns out.
And for more fun, check out this comic from early 2009 (click to embiggen):